That term, “dirty hit” has been thrown around the League a lot this weekend.Â But what does that really mean?
According to the NFL Rules an illegal hit, at least in James Harrison’s situation, is:
- A tackler using his helmet to butt, spear, or ram an opponent.
- Any player who uses the top of his helmet unnecessarily.
I’m not sure either hit – against Josh Cribbs or Mohamed Massaquoi – is really “dirty” according to the rules.Â I think the hit againstÂ Massaquoi looks incredibly hard and intense and it happened quickly, but isn’t that what football is about?
I’m not saying that safety isn’t important, or that if someone egregiously or blatantly hits someone with the intent to hurt them that they shouldn’t be reprimanded, but what has football come to if you can’t stop someone from moving the ball?
Like Coach Tomlin said, Harrison played good, tough football.Â He’s supposed to stop people. Do you think, in his mind, in that second, that he thought, oh wait, let me hit this guy so hard I knock him out? Or ruin his career? Or worse, give him brain damage from the concussion he’s going to face after I hit him?
I highly doubt any of these players think like that.Â They are in the moment, and only thing they are thinking about is stopping the guy with the ball. And with their speed and intensity, it’s hard for me to fathom that anything malicious is going through their mind.
I’m all for reducing injuries, for making sure helmets are appropriately padded and concussions are limited, but let these guys play football.
Now, let’s talk about those roughing the passer/kicker calls….